Bugel Leaves to Be With Ailing Daughter

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Offensive line coach Joe Bugel has left the team to tend to his daughter, Holly, who is battling cancer. Owner Daniel Snyder arranged for Bugel to take his private plane to Phoenix after Saturday's game, and Coach Jim Zorn said Bugel will miss as much time as necessary.

Bugel's daughter has a rare, aggressive form of bone cancer. "He's taking care of a very difficult situation in his family," Zorn said. He added Bugel could be gone at least a few more days.

In Bugel's absence, offensive coordinator Sherman Smith and tight ends coach Rennie Simmons are handling the offensive line, and assistant Bill Khayat is taking Simmons's spot with the tight ends. Smith is well versed in the Redskins' offense, while Simmons, like Bugel, was a longtime assistant to former coach Joe Gibbs. Zorn has kept the running game and blocking schemes much as they were under Gibbs.

James Makes His Debut

Erasmus James went through drills with his teammates yesterday for the first time since re-injuring his left knee in December. James, who was acquired for a conditional seventh-round pick in May, was with Minnesota at the time of his most recent injury, and this was his first practice with the Redskins.

"I'm very excited about [today] when we actually put the pads on," said James, who has not taken part in a full practice since early December. "It kind of sucks when you're not out there with the guys."

James was activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list yesterday morning and said he would like to get in for a few plays Saturday against the New York Jets, if possible.

"I'm just itching to get out there," he said.

James could be a valuable part of a rotation at defensive end and said he also might take reps at tackle on passing downs. "I definitely think I could," he said.

The Redskins would love to get three speed rushers on the field at the same time -- along with Andre Carter and Jason Taylor -- and form a deep unit in the mold of the New York Giants.

Comings and Goings

Tight end Todd Yoder was excused from practice to attend his grandmother's funeral. . . . Defensive tackle Lorenzo Alexander was excused for the birth of his child (Zorn had no update on the sex, size or name of the baby). . . . Rookie wide receiver Devin Thomas might get in for a few plays Saturday. Thomas is coming back from nearly a 2 1/2 -week absence because of a hamstring problem but was able to take part in some team drills. "I know my limitations, but I'm out here trying to work through it and still feel comfortable," Thomas said. Zorn said Thomas worked hard in practice. "Today he did everything," Zorn said. "We tried to pull him out, and he stayed in." . . . Rookie safety Chris Horton was back on the field after missing five days with a colon infection. . . .

Wide receiver Antwaan Randle El said his hand, which was stepped on Saturday, is fine. . . . Running back Rock Cartwright is working through his rib injury and hopes to play Saturday. . . . Wide receivers Anthony Mix (ribs) and Malcolm Kelly (knee), linebacker H.B. Blades (knee), and offensive linemen Todd Wade (ankle) and Stephon Heyer (knee) are not practicing and likely to miss at least this week.

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company